The Farmer Logo

Daycares and senior centers in Brown County are invited to participate in Virtual Dairy Days events.

Paula Mohr, Editor, The Farmer

April 20, 2020

4 Min Read
Little girl holding ice cream cones
DAIRY FUN: The Brown County, Minn., American Dairy Association is hosting the Virtual Dairy Days promotion through May 15 for local daycare and eldercare facilities and picking up the tab for dairy treats.Vasyl Dolmatov/Getty Images

When COVID-19 forced dairy farmers in Brown County, Minn., to rethink their summer dairy promotion activities, community participation figured prominently in future events. Volunteers decided to try something new to keep dairy products in consumers’ minds.

That’s how Virtual Dairy Days came about.

Hanska dairy farmer Angie Tauer, who also serves on the Brown County American Dairy Association board, says their organization had been brainstorming about dairy promotion projects they could do during this stay-at-home time to reach specific consumers while maintaining minimum contact. They decided to focus on two specific consumer segments — children in daycare and the elderly in senior facilities.

Virtual Dairy Days, which kicked off April 15 and runs through May 15, offers home daycare, daycare centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes the opportunity to host their own dairy celebrations that feature dairy foods. Brown County ASA will then reimburse them for their dairy treat purchases.

Ideas for activities include ice cream socials for residents, breakfast smoothies for daycare kids and wine and cheese tastings. Anything dairy goes, Tauer says.

“This gives daycares and group care facilities time to be creative and implement a program or idea that allows them to use dairy and have fun while doing so,” she says. “They just need to turn in pictures of the fun along with a receipt for reimbursement.”

Event photos and receipts can be texted or emailed to Tauer. The county ADA will reimburse participants for dairy purchases up to $50 for home daycares and up to $250 for daycare centers and eldercare facilities. Plus, participants will receive swag bags later in 2020.

Funding for dairy promotion events comes from dairy farmer checkoff dollars. Midwest Dairy provides up to $3,000 in grants for creative, community oriented programming that benefits the groups most likely to consume dairy, Tauer says.

Feedback from the community on the idea has been encouraging.

“Responses have been positive with many, ‘What a great idea!’ and ‘Thank you! We need this little bit of assistance right now!’” Tauer says.

Remaining promotion for the year

The Brown County ADA started planning its 2020 events in January and likes to focus on community activities with visible programming, Tauer says. All projected ideas are on hold at this time due to COVID-19, including Princess Kay and dairy ambassador programming.

The county ADA would like to host June Dairy Month activities if feasible.

“We as a board are flexible and last minute in the best of ways,” Tauer says, “so if the opportunity is available, we are more than happy to rise to the occasion.”

Traditional activities include a local 5k handout, princesses visiting care centers and daycares, library story times, a twilight meeting in conjunction with the Holstein Association and supporting youth through fair season. Board members also work with a local radio station on sponsored ads and content. They also work with area businesses on a “Grill and Chill” promotion.

Ready to help

Tauer is one of several volunteer dairy farmers serving on the county ADA board. She and her husband, David, have two children — Ruby, 8, and Adam, 6. They milk 250 cows on their third-generation family farm. In 2006, they bought the business from David's parents, who still live on the farm and help when they can.

Angie and David Tauer with their children Ruby and Adam
DAIRY FARMERS & PROMOTERS: Angie and David Tauer, along with their children Ruby and Adam, live on a third-generation dairy farm near Hanska, Minn. They are active dairy promoters through their county ADA.

The Tauers operate one of Minnesota DHIA's top 200 herds and focus on quality milk and genetics. They farm with the help of a local herds person and three foreign interns from the University of Minnesota MAST program.

“We are also hoping — if COVID restrictions are lifted — to host an intern from the Penn State Dairy program this summer as well,” Tauer says.

They also farm 400 acres, mostly corn and alfalfa with a few grain crops. They implemented a cover crop and interseeding rotation about five years ago that helps them maximize land management and forage needs.

To learn more about Virtual Dairy Days, visit the Brown County ADA’s Facebook page.

About the Author(s)

Paula Mohr

Editor, The Farmer

Mohr is former editor of The Farmer.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like